The Shelter View iPhone App, contributed by Visionlink to the American Red Cross, ranked in the top ten free utilities this weekend on the iTunes Store.
The Red Cross opened more than 500 shelters, providing local assistance across the entire eastern seaboard. The impacted area from Hurricane Irene was larger than the European continent.
The challenge now is to keep the public engaged as the storm resulted in more chaos than the reports of "missing the bullet" would suggest. With more than 5.5 million people without power, and some rivers yet to see their highest crest, many people need considerable assistance. Fortunately, hundreds of disaster relief organizations (most members of the Coordinated Assistance Network), know this and are coordinating many specially trained volunteers to assist.
The consequences range far; blood drives are an example. More than 65 regularly scheduled blood drives were canceled because of Irene and this means that extra efforts will need to be mounted to sustain the nation's blood supply.
The iPhone App itself provides a quick national overview of open shelters, the ability to zoom in for more details, to check capacity and bed counts at any given shelter, the opportunity to donate to the disaster fund, and more. You can find the app by searching the iTunes store for "shelter view," or preview it here.
You only need to know 4 things about this app: Yes, it's official; Yes, it's free; Yes, it's good, and Yes, you need to install it on your phone *now* (before disaster strikes!). The Shelter View App receives its information directly from the National Shelter System, deployed by Visionlink on our CommunityOS platform.